7 Strategic Ways to Un-Succeed

Written by Paul Angone Success is overrated. Those people living their dreams, making money, making a difference, creating, inventing, leading, yada-yada-blah-gag-me-with-a-stapler.

No, give me that 8-5 job surrounded by rainy-day-cubicle where I can master Cubicleness – the art of taking forty-five minutes of actual work and spreading it over eight hours.

Give me day after day where I have been on the Internet for so long I have literally run out of things to search for.

I don’t want to make sh*t happen. No, no, no. I want to be that co-worker who gave up caring about their work 15 years prior, but has become that large boulder in the office – unmovable and ready to crush you with one wrong look. That’s the sweet spot that I know I can thrive in.

But how do I get there? How do I make sure I live a life of Un-Success, where I scold “dreamers” who think they’re actually supposed to enjoy their work? Freaks.


 Orignal Photo by Michael LaNasa - Creative Commons

7 Strategic Ways to Un-Succeed

1. Don’t Care Just Enough

Yes you can care about things, people, doing okay work, making a moderate amount of money, but just don’t care too much. No, fully giving yourself to something, pushing through the heart-ache and struggle that comes with caring about something more than staying comfortable and complacent, is a way to live dangerously close to success.

2. Be a Critic and a Cynic

Cynicism is a great tool to make sure you don’t care just enough. If you can find and focus on the faults, cracks, and crap of life, then you’re bound to never really create anything really worth creating because you’ll be able to pick the idea apart before you can even start. Awesome! Bring on the next big idea, so that you can topple it like a 5-year old playing Jenga blindfolded.

3. Call your Dream a Hobby

While I don’t recommend really pursuing dreams at all if you want to live a life of Un-Success, if you just can’t help yourself, then make sure you call your dream “just a hobby”.

Calling your dream a hobby is key because this way you’re telling friends, family, and most importantly yourself, that you’re really not in this for keeps. No, you’re just dabbling like a teenager who’s going to take up guitar for three months before he moves onto Xbox.

A hobby is casually dating without any of the commitment and sacrifice that might come from a long-term-relationship with a dream.

4. Pursue your “Hobby” in Isolation

Yeah, on second thought it’s probably better if you really don’t tell anyone about this “hobby” at all. That way, when it gets to that sticky point where the steps forward become as difficult as walking through wet tar on a summer day, then you don’t have to explain to anyone a dang-thing when you stop walking altogether.

Letting people in on your hobby, especially wiser, successful people who have pursued a similar dream before, makes a life dedicated to Un-Success much more complicated. Because they’ll probably try to prod you to push past the sticky, and gosh, who the heck wants that?

5. Watch Elephant-Sized-Butt-Loads of Reality TV

This tip might seem elementary, but don’t underestimate the profound effect a good 2-3 hours of real, fake, TV can have in reaching your goal of Un-Success. Becoming obsessed with other people’s scripted lives is a great way to not have to live your own.

(Note to Self: Did I remember to tape True Confessions of US Sewer Workers tonight? God I hope so.)

6. Never Fail

If you’re failing, you’re trying way too hard. If you’re committed to Almost-Success than you should have numerous instances of Almost-Failure as well. You can’t have one without the other.

7. Don’t Help Others be Successful

Obviously, if you’re committed to Un-Success it’s kind of against the rules to help others fully succeed. No, when friends have the audacity to chase their dreams, you want to be that voice of reason that points out all the ways they will fail. You don’t want to help them push through obstacles, no you want to throw more in their way.

Because when you help others succeed there’s this strange effect where you’re paid back somehow.  Not because you asked for it, but because when you help others, they want to help you. And that’s a dangerous place to be when you are going for Un-Successful.

A Commitment to Un-Success

Yes, if you follow these seven simple strategies, you can live a life of Un-Success -- on April Fool’s day or any of the other 364 days of the year.

I would love to hear from you in the comments below: Do you relate to any of the unsuccessful tips? What strategies do you have to live a life of un-success? 


About Paul

Paul Angone is the creator of All Groan Up, a community for emerging adults searching for self, faith, and a freaking job. Snag a free copy of his ebook 21 Secrets for your 20’s and follow him at @PaulAngone.